FHWA Has Not Fully Implemented All MAP-21 Bridge Provisions and Prior OIG Recommendations
Since 2006, we have issued 3 reports with 16 recommendations for FHWA to improve oversight of States’ bridge programs. Subsequent to our reports, in July 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) changed bridge safety requirements and funding uses and instituted new performance and accountability requirements for bridges on the National Highway System (NHS). We conducted this audit at the request of the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, who asked that we assess FHWA’s efforts to improve bridge safety, including addressing our related recommendations and MAP-21 bridge safety provisions. Accordingly, our objectives were to assess FHWA’s actions in response to (1) the bridge safety provisions in MAP-21 and (2) our prior bridge report recommendations.
We found that FHWA completed 12 of 24 actions identified to implement MAP-21 bridge safety and funding provisions. Of the actions in progress, two MAP-21 rulemakings regarding asset management and performance management are behind schedule and may delay States’ implementation of key performance and accountability requirements by at least a year later than specified in MAP-21. Four of our 16 prior bridge-related recommendations remain open. These focus on collecting bridge expenditure data, reporting on States’ actions to improve the condition of deficient bridges, and collecting more detailed condition data for all bridges on public roads so FHWA can better monitor nationwide bridge conditions and identify safety risks. We are making five new recommendations to update or clarify guidance, establish target action dates, and include information in a required report to Congress. FHWA concurred with two recommendations, partially concurred with one, and agreed to implement two.